Select an artifact in a medium of your choice that you or others find persuasive, compelling, and analyze it according to the rhetorical principles we’ve studied in this course so far. The “medium” could be a news forum, a non-newsy blog, an MMORPG, a nonfiction book you’re reading, a particular architecture, an image, a scene from a popular TV show or movie (if you can link to a very specific clip of it), an ad online, or something else I can’t quite imagine right now. Be sure it’s substantial enough to handle a detailed critique and that it’s a persuasive “text” (it cannot be simply oral–you must be able to copy it for me or link to it and refer others to it).
INFOGRAPHIC: Using Piktochart (https://piktochart.com/) or Canva (https://www.canva.com/create/infographics/) or some other photo editor, create a simple infographic that captures what you consider the main (or most persuasive) rhetorical principles operating in the argument you’re assessing. SAVE and PUBLISH your infographic once you’ve gotten it finished to get the URL for it; you’ll share the URL with your group for feedback. Some infograph examples:
- This one goes with this analysis by a previous student. (This infographic was also published here–that’s how you’ll do it.)
- Here’s an example a colleague named Nathaniel Rivers did of my last book.
- He has done a bunch of them.
- And here is a description of Piktochart tools that includes its own infographic.
PAPER: Your purpose in this 4 page piece is to offer a rhetorical analysis of your chosen text, not to take a position on the issue to which it responds: your job is not to advocate or evaluate but to analyze and describe.
It’s important to remember that an analysis involves more than a summary of a writer’s argument. Whereas a summary emphasizes the text’s content or what the text says—central claims, key evidence, and a recap of the conclusion—an analysis also examines how an argument is put together and what specific rhetorical choices have been made.
Past student example: Emily Sims
Name, class, and date should be at the top left corner of your paper. Down two spaces, add a title. Under the title, center the URL for your infographic.
FIRST PARAGRAPH: Begin by introducing the text you’ll be analyzing, stating the author and the title of the text and putting the rest of the source information in a Works Cited page. Offer a concise but thorough summary of what the artifact says or does and a concise explanation of the purpose of the artifact (what it wants the audience to think/feel/do).
REST OF ANALYSIS: Spend the rest of your allotted space analyzing how the argument works rhetorically, what makes it persuasive. Organize your analysis according to the rhetorical principles you’re analyzing–not according to the flow of the essay you’re analyzing. You should discern and describe each of the following:
- Figures: The rhetorical figures we’ve covered so far that are utilized to make this persuasive case (metaphor, simile, allegory, metonymy, synecdoche, catachresis, irony, litotes, hyperbole, pun, paraphrasis, enallage, anaphora, homoioteleuton, isocolon)
- Stasis: the type of argument that the reasons are designed to support: conjecture, definition, quality, policy, objection
- Formal Topics: the formal topic or topics used to make the main logical argument
- Enthymeme: The main argument being made in the artifact, stated enthymatically as Major premise, Minor premise, and Conclusion.
- Ideograph: At least one ideograph operating and perhaps overlapping or contradicting another in this text (for ex: liberty, right to privacy, property, national security, rule of law, trial by jury, property, religion, freedom of speech, family, patriotism, freedom, equality, principle of confidentiality, public trust, etc., or slavery, tyranny, demagoguery, communism, fascism, etc.). You’ll want to identify it and demonstrate the presumptions on which it functions. That is to say, show us (don’t just tell us) what the argument wants or expects you to assume about this ideograph. (For example, what do the authors of the Declaration of Independence want you to believe about “liberty” when they make their larger case, and how does their case depend upon your beliefs about liberty?) Are there any ideological overlaps or paradoxes involved? (For example, the paradox about liberty: you have to sacrifice—give up freedom–to get it.)
Conclude with a word about what rhetorical element you find most compelling in this argument and with a rebuttal point that you wish the argument had addressed. Paste in your infographic where it is most appropriate.
Bare Minimum Requirements
For a C or above, each essay will:
- Be 4-ish pages long, typed, double-spaced; have 1 inch margins and name, class, date at the top left corner of the first page with title centered two lines below the date and URL for infographic centered under title
- Summarize and analyze the selected text fairly, without advocating or slanting, according to the rhetorical principles defined in your instructions
- Demonstrate an understanding of these rhetorical principles
- Complete all of the tasks in the assignment
- Be written effectively and coherently, with very few grammatical errors
- Include an infographic that successfully outlines the major rhetorical principles (according to this assignment)
- Have been peer reviewed in Canvas
- Be submitted on time on Canvas, along with a link to or attachment of the text you’re analyzing
Analysis Two Rubric
|Introduction: Is the artifact introduced in the 1st or 2nd paragraph, along with sufficient information about the situation or occasion and a concise but thorough summary of the artifact’s purpose? If so, what’s the purpose? Is it clear? Does the author note where the artifact was published and give the full name of the artifact’s author and its title in the introduction? Is the rest of the source information and a URL in the Works Cited section at the end? Note any missing elements and offer suggestions about how to make the introduction more compelling.||Comments||0.0 pts|
|Main Stasis and Formal Topic: Does the author both identify and carefully analyze the type of argument (stasis) that the reasons are designed to support (conjecture, definition, quality, policy, objection) AND the formal topic used in the main argument and any significant supporting arguments? If so, what are the formal topics and stases identified and analyzed, and how well are they analyzed?||Comments||4.0 pts|
|Enthymeme: Does the author state the enthymeme of the main argument accurately, sketching out the main premise, minor premise, and conclusion? If so, sketch it here for us. If not, or if the enthymeme doesn’t quite work (isn’t true or isn’t valid), offer suggestions.||Comments||3.0 pts|
|Ideograph: Does the author thoroughly discern and describe an ideograph operating in this artifact, the presumptions on which it functions, and what the argument wants or expects you to assume about this ideograph? If so, restate all that here. If not, or if it doesn’t work well, offer suggestions.||Comments||4.0 pts|
|Figures: Does the author both identify the most powerful rhetorical figures at work in the artifact and analyze the work they’re doing for the artifact’s purpose? If so, what are they? If not, offer suggestions.||Comments||4.0 pts|
|Infographic: Is the infographic readable and does it capture the main (or most persuasive) rhetorical principles operating in the argument being assessed? If if does, note its most impressive aspects. If you have questions or suggestions to make it more compelling, offer them.||Comments||2.0 pts|
|Writing: Is the 4-5 page paper written effectively and coherently, with very few grammatical errors? Does it contain all the requisite elements, including a works cited page that accurately documents sources used? If not, offer suggestions.||Comments||3.0 pts|
|Total Points: 20.0|